Gold Silver Bronze
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Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-Country Skiing  
Watch these events

Heidi Widmer of Canada (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)




Sprint Classic

Team Free Sprint

Mass Start Classic


What's this sport all about:

Cross-country is the oldest type of skiing — in the snow-covered North, people would ski to hunt and gather firewood in the winter.

The word "ski" is Norwegian and comes from the old Norse word "skith," which means "stick of wood, snowshoe".

The Olympic competition trails are divided into Red and Blue courses. Athletes use different skiing techniques (classical or free technique) on the different trails.

Men have been competing in cross-country skiing at the Olympics since Chamonix 1924, but women didn't compete until Oslo 1952.

The Skiathlon is split in two parts with the first half using the classic ski technique and the second half using the skate ski technique. Women ski a total of 15 kilometres and men ski a total of 30 kilometres.

In the Relay event, four skiers each ski one fourth of the total distance: four women each ski five kilometres of a total 20 kilometres and four men each ski 10 kilometres of a total 40 kilometres.

All of Canada's Olympic medals for cross-country skiing have been won by women.

When to watch

First day
of events:
FEB 10
Last day
of events:
FEB 25

Things to watch for

Imanol Rojo of Spain lies on the snow after competing in the Men's 50 km Mass Start Free at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Hard Work: Because cross-country skiing requires continuous hard work from all of the major muscle groups, as well as the heart and the lungs, it can be one of the most demanding sports at the Olympics.

Aino-Kaisa Saarinen of Finland, 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Canada. (Photo by Philippe Montigny/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Two strikes: Athletes can be given violations for not staying within tracks on corners or for changing tracks too often in the classical technique. Two violations means disqualification!

Aino-Kaisa Saarinen of Finland, 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. (Photo by Philippe Montigny/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Ski Length: Cross-country skis must be at least as long as the athlete’s height, minus four inches, but they can be as long as an athlete likes.

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